Continuing their fine run in One-Day Internationals, Australia, on Friday, beat Pakistan by eight wickets in the first ODI to take the lead in the five-match series. Hosts Pakistan scored 280 for 5 in the allotted 50 overs before the visitors chased it down with an over to spare to register their fourth consecutive win in the ODIs.
Turning point of the match:
After losing Usman Khawaja for 24, skipper Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh all but sealed the game for Australia by sharing a mammoth partnership of of 172. Pakistan did manage to end the stand when they got the wicket of Finch but it was too late.
Man of the Match:
Aaron Finch was the Man of the Match for his 116-run knock. This was Finch’s first century across formats since his monumental knock of 172 in a T20I against Zimbabwe last July.
Pakistan vs Australia – Pakistan innings:
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the upcoming World Cup. However, they paid a big price for it as the young and inexperienced side led by Shoaib Malik proved no match for high-flying Australia.
Batting first, the home team was off to a shaky start, losing opener Imam-ul-Haq with just 35 runs on the board. Shan Masood on debut gave a good account of himself before being castled for 40 by Nathan Coulter-Nile as Pakistan lost both the openers for 78. Haris Sohail’s maiden ton then helped Pakistan overcome an unimpressive start and put up a challenging total of 280 for 5.
He added 98 runs with the recalled Umar Akmal (48) to steady the ship. Late cameos from Faheem Ashraf (29 off 27) and then Imad Wasim (28 off 13) helped Pakistan accelerate towards the end. Sohail reached his ton in the very last over of the innings as he and Imad smashed 56 off the final five overs.
Pakistan vs Australia – Australia innings:
On a sluggish Sharjah wicket, the target of 281 looked like an imposing one. But in the end, Australia chased it down without breaking a sweat thanks to a stunning century from their skipper Finch and fifty from Marsh.
Usman Khawaja and Finch gave Australia a good start by adding 63 runs for the first wicket. But before Pakistan could make further inroads in the game, Finch and Marsh all but ended the game with a 172-run stand. After Finch departed for a well-made 116, Marsh (91 not out off 102) and Peter Handscomb (30 not out off 27) took Australia over the line.
Pakistan 280/5 in 50 overs (Haris Sohail 101*, Umar Akmal 48; Nathan Coulter-Nile 2-61) lost to Australia 281/2 in 49 overs (Aaron Finch 116, Shaun Marsh 91*; Mohammad Abbas 1-44) by 8 wickets